KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress gave tickets to 17 women in its list for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee outdid her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik by giving 40 per cent of the seats to women candidates. She said, “Today I am extremely happy. This has never been achieved in India. While other parties are only talking about 33 per cent reservation for women, Trinamool Congress has implemented and raised the bar higher. Today, we are declaring 40.5 per cent women candidates and we hope other parties emulate this.”
Patnaik was all praises for the move and tweeted, “Immensely happy to see All India Trinamool Congress led by @Mamata-Official nominate over onethird #women candidates for ensuing #LokSabhaElections2019. With the gathering momentum, India could see a sea change in electoral & development domain.” Among the 17 women candidates, six are first-timers and 11 have been re-nominated. Midnapore MP Sandhya Rou and Jhargram MP Uma Soren were dropped. In 2014, 11 out of 12 women Trinamool candidates had won. After the deaths of Uluberia and Bongaon MPs, two more women candidates had contested and won the bypolls.
Also announced were Birbaha Soren, niece of Nityananda Hembram, who heads Bharat Majhi Pargana Mahal, a tribal organisation. She will contest from Jhargram. Trinamool had sought inputs from tribal outfits and Soren was chosen based on the consensus. Also in the list of newcomers was Rupali Biswas, widow of Satyajit Biswas, the former TMC MLA who was killed last month. She is yet to reach the mandatory age of 25 to contest elections. Mamata, however, said she would be 25 by the time of she would file nomination. Biswas said, “I will complete the unfinished work of my husband.”
Meanwhile last week, BJP urged the Election Commission to declare it a “super sensitive state” to ensure fair polling and demanded that central forces be deployed at all polling stations for the Lok Sabha polls to be held in seven phases in the TMC-ruled state. A BJP delegation, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman and JP Nadda and party's general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya, met top officials of the poll panel with their demands. Briefing the media after the meeting, Prasad said, “We have requested the Election Commission that the state of West Bengal should be declared as super-sensitive... have also demanded that central forces be deployed at all polling booths in the state.”
He also said the party has requested the poll panel to transfer those police officers whose electoral impartiality is questionable as well as withdrawal of former Kolkata police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from election duty.